Corporate, financial and public affairs consultancy
Argument was established in 2000 by Per Arne Totland, former head of corporate communications for global chemicals company Dyno and former business correspondent for Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). In less than five years it has grown to become a top 10 firm in the Norwegian PR market, with 25 consultants in offices in Oslo and Bergen and a business that spans three practice areas—media relations, financial communications, and public affairs—with a focus on consultancy.
One thing that differentiates Argument from the competition is the quality and experience of its senior management. In addition to Totland, who counsels clients on reputation management and communications strategy, there’s Hans Wilhelm Gullestad, general manager of the Bergen office, a former head of communications with insurance companies Vital and Vesta and former journalist with NRK and Dagbladet; and senior partners Jan Glendrange, head of the public affairs team and former head of public affairs with the Norwegian Shareholders’ Association, and Jonette Øyen, former head of communications with the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, the airline Nowegian Air Shuttle and the Norwegian Competition Authority. Not surprisingly, given this depth of experience, the firm finds itself working directly with CEOs and CFOs at least as often as with communications or marketing clients.
The past 12 months have seen considerable growth in the public affairs and financial communications practices, with revenues overall rising to about 16 million Norwegian kroner (€2 million), a 26 percent increase that Argument expects to duplicate in 2005. The client list includes the Norwegian Public Health Directorate (which selected Argument earlier this year to handle public relations for a national alcohol education campaign); MøllerGroup (Norway’s largest car importer and dealer); NHO, the confederation of Norwegian enterprise; Stolt-Nielsen (a leading chemical tanker company); and Norman (a leader in computer virus protection). Another major addition to the client list was Continental Airlines, which tapped Argument to handle its PR in Norway.
Argument works internationally through two partnerships: the first with Citigate in the area of financial communications and the second with Media Consulta of Germany, focused on European public affairs.